I can't believe something this special happened in San Diego's North county. The little NAMM affiliated museum of Making Music has been quietly nestled above the semi-famous Carlsbad Flower fields for years. They seldom if ever have special musical performances and from what I understand they are usually of the classical persuasion or occasionally new age/world beat/jazzy stuff but that's rare. Last year Timmyhoover and I were fortunate enough to catch a one time only presentation by Henry Kaiser on his scuba and musical misadventures in Antarctica, aided by the musical genius of San Diego local Mike Keneally the night was filled with serene underwater slides and off the wall free form improvisation. Needless to say the museum had never seen anything like it. We were very surprised that something like this only occurred there. Turns out Kaiser must be an SD local himself cause, using his powerful musical connections and influence, he has master minded the theme of the little often unnoticed museum for the next 5 months: Slide and Rhythm. In addition to featuring many abstract slide instruments on display, the museum will be hosting a series of one-off performances by some of the most notable slide players in the world. One of the first of which: an evening with David Lindley and Sonny Landreth.
I've loved seeing David Lindely concerts at the belly up for a few years now and have wanted to see Sonny live for many, so I wasn't gonna pass this up. If there was anything that could tare me away from Zoner Surf Jam, this was it!
I attended the show once again with my good friend Ricky Smutts and of course Mr. Hoover whose almost entire immediate family was in attendance. I was very pleased by this because they are chiefly responsible for my in depth exposure to artists such as David Lindley and Ry Cooder and for my entire awareness the great Richard Thompson who has become one of my favorite artists of all time. They raised Hoover on this stuff and their mental and spiritual connection to folk rock virtuosos such as these is profound, pure, and inspiring. Without them and my long term friendship with Lord Henry I could have easily been just another casualty of the Jam scene or worst, but I digress.
The show started with a few words by Kaiser and a performance by a master of a japanese one stringed slide instrument, which was interesting but I couldn't focus on it. I new what I was here to see and I was anxious for it.
Here comes Mr. Dave in typical full polyester and turquoise faux alligator shoes. No bazouki, saz, or 12 string tonight it's all about slide. With just his beautiful Wiesenborn (excuse spelling) style guitars and an oude Lindley came to rock.
Mr. Dave's a playful guy and his set-list reflects it. In retrospect it almost seems like he was socking it to the yuppie/musical snobbish type crowd with scathingly controversial and subversive and leftist subject matter and ideology. He wasn't pulling any punches and was received by uncomfortable laughter and blank stares as he got very real with: Revenge will come, Seminole Bingo, Brothers Under the Bridge, an Oude solo, Tijuana, and Meth Lab Boyfriend.
The playing on the songs was fairly typical for Lindley until the last tune where he went crazy, Spitting out verses that even long time fans such as Mr. Hoover claimed to be unfamiliar with. With fire in his eyes he abusively banged out percussive lyics on his acoustic lap slide. Then things took a turn for the stranger as he started rotating his slide, first at 90 degree angles then full 360s. Like no wiesenborn playing I've ever heard, time and space sounded to warping before our very ears before an abrupt chorus reprise and finish.
Then came Sonny. Never having seen him I didn't know what to expect, most likely some pyrotechnics and difficult technical moves. He delivered in spades. Launching into an instrumental number it was like nothing I've ever seen. Using a couple of pedals and a combination of sliding, tapping, slapping, multi finger rolling, and a maneuver where he slides high and simultaneously massages "ghost notes" on lower parts of the neck behind the slide (which creates a crescendo so haunting and powerful you'd think a crater was going to open up in the Earth and give rise to a Blues devil) he blisteringly rocked his way through New Landlord, Key to the Highway, Broken Hearted Home, Back to the Bayou Tesche and a couple instrumental numbers.
I felt like I was seeing something only people in the music industry do for each other, it was incredible. Landreth had great energy and joked about moveing to Carlsbad for the next 5 months. Kaiser informed us Sonny rarely ever plays solo, but then it was time for something even more rare Lindley and Landreth took the stage together.
They only played 3 songs: Her mind is gone, Bon Temps Roulez, and Blues Attack. There was the akwardness of trying to nail the acoustic/ electric balance of playing together and you could tell Sonny never really plays the first 2 songs, but there were moments where Lindely held down a sweet groove and Landreth improvised over it that were just magical. Dave was clearly having fun and we were all pleased to have been part of such an exceptional co-bill. We all said hi to Zoner friend Russ as we were leaving and walked back to our cars in awe of what we had just witnessed.
Great review. I REALLY wish I coulda been there!!
Outstanding review, E
made me feel like I was sittin' right there with ya
thx for posting!
What a night.
Thanks for the read.
Just saw Lindley 3 weeks ago in Nebraska. I talked to him after the show, and he was VERY excited about playing with Sonny!! Thanks for the review!
"Without them and my long term friendship with Lord Henry I could have easily been just another casualty of the Jam scene or worst, but I digress."
this is a hilarious line... hA! Sonny is a musical shaman, man, glad you got to check him out live.
"slides high and simultaneously massages "ghost notes" on lower parts of the neck behind the slide (which creates a crescendo so haunting and powerful you'd think a crater was going to open up in the Earth and give rise to a Blues devil)"
I didn't know how he made that sound but your description is perfect for what is a signature part of Landreth's playing, tone and overall performance.
I believe he said that technique was "a great way to conjure up some serious Mojo" or something to that effect
What a show.
Great review E, that really was a great show.
Sonny was in SF a few months back, it was a great show...he played a lot of stuff off the new album, really had the crowd rocking. As always, I left shaking my head in amazement at how underrated he is.
so ya tellin' me i should go see sonny at the coach house on friday?